Drug dealers targeting student homes

Sept. 19, 2011 at 3:40 PM

PHILADELPHIA, Sept. 19 (UPI) -- Police say home invasions near Drexel and Temple universities almost always occur at homes where drug dealers knew residents were selling marijuana.

The Philadelphia Inquirer reports there have been at least seven home invasion robberies since November near the Temple campus in which police believe drugs were a factor and at least four involving Drexel students since April 2010.

"These kids are cutting into the trade of the people who live in this neighborhood," police Lt. John Walker said. "To them, it's a few hundred dollars, but to someone else, that's their livelihood ... . The students don't realize how they're affecting the economy."

Students are typically assaulted and sometimes tied up, the newspaper said.

But police Capt. Branville Bard said local drug dealers are usually heavily armed and take the students by surprise.

"My main concern is that one of these kids is going to get hurt or killed," Bard said. "Until now, everyone's been compliant. But it's inevitable that one of these kids will try to defend themselves."

Some students buy marijuana blocks from their homes or even have it delivered to their homes without realizing a dealer may follow them home and later target them.

"They don't realize that the folks they're associating with are lifelong criminals who've done far worse than sell marijuana," Bard said. "It's painfully obvious that they don't see the targets they're putting on their backs."

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